Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Managing portion sizes is one of the most difficult tasks when managing diabetes or bodyweight…..or both. We’re constantly confronted with unrealistic advertisements or gigantic restaurant meals, and most of us hate doing “food math.” This video may help you.
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There was a Question… And Now There is an Answer.
I was eating dinner with a friend recently and she saw me sizing up my plate and eating only a portion of what was served. She asked me if I ate until I was full or was eating a certain portion to manage my diabetes. I thought this was a great question and would be a good topic for a video. So, here we go.
To answer her question, I generally decide what I want to eat and aim to keep my carb intake to about 20-32 grams of carb at breakfast and around 45 grams at lunch and dinner. I then calculate the amount of insulin I need to take using the insulin to carb ratio. Well, I don’t really need to do that calculation because I happen to wear an insulin pump that calculates the amount of insulin I will bolus. Because I take insulin with meals, I need to calculate the number of carbs I’m eating but at the same time, this keeps me mindful about the portion of food I’m eating. Come to think of it, I’m rarely feeling like I’m starving, I AM strategic in filling at least half of my plate with vegetables to accomplish feeling full.
FYI – When to Establish a Personal Eating Plan…
Many of you with type 2 diabetes don’t have to worry about balancing your carbohydrates with a mealtime insulin injection like I do, but not managing your carbohydrate intake now by knowing and managing carbohydrate portion sizes is an excellent way to get that experience later. Now my daily carbohydrate intake and yours aren’t necessarily the same. I always suggest you counsel with a registered dietitian nutritionist to establish a personal eating plan, but at a minimum monitor your blood glucose levels after meals. If your levels are going into the 200’s or higher your long-term health is threatened.
Here are Some Examples
I have posted a series of “Diabetes and Carbohydrates” videos on all the different groups of carbohydrate foods with their portions sizes, but for fun today I’ve chosen a couple of examples where your eyes shouldn’t be the decision-maker on your food choices. We have gotten used to bigger portion sizes so there are many instances where you will run into what I call a “portion fooler”.
I’m sure you have seen beautiful food photography of Overnight Oats. I know I saw them and shook my head that those photos are fooling me on the portion I would really eat minus all the carb sides in the photos like fruit or honey or granola bites. I have a video on my overnight oats, and this is an actual portion.
Another portion fooler is when you see photos of beautiful desserts like a favorite of mine…Chia pudding I randomly picked a recipe that had a large glass beautifully decorated with berries and mint leaves. This recipe contained 5 grams of protein and 26. 5 grams of carb and 8 grams of fiber. One of my tips for navigating portions is to look at the recipes that offer a nutrition breakdown. In comparison, my chocolate chia pudding recipe contains half the carb, 4 additional grams more fiber, and double the protein with 13g carb; 9 G protein, and 12 g of fiber. I may have mentioned this before, but I really had a hard time finding a recipe that fit my needs, I wanted a lower carb recipe but also wanted the recipe to be high in fiber and high in protein so that’s why I developed my own recipe and understand the portion size. I could “pretty up” my recipe with the mint leaves, but all of those berries add carbs that must be counted in the portion. Berries are great if they fit into our carb budget, but you can’t just assume they don’t because they’re a garnish.
A favorite food in many regions of the world is the potato. But the sizes of potatoes at your local grocer or farmer’s market tend to run on the larger size. For a baked potato, here is what a portion is…for 15 grams of carb the size is ¼ of a large potato or 3 ounces. As you know, it’s rare to find a 3- ounce potato at the grocery or served to you at a restaurant, but also keep in mind that you may want a larger potato to use more of your carbs for your potato portion. Generally, I use 2 carb choices if I’m eating a potato so that would be equivalent to a 6-ounce potato which would be 30 grams carb.
Be Sure to Check Out – Can I Eat Potatoes With Diabetes?
Eating Out – Restaurants
The last example I want to give is for Eating Out. At restaurants, be prepared to eat half your entree portion and order a side salad with dressing on the side. I just want to show you this example. I love ordering this dish-it’s a barley risotto with vegetables and I get a side salad with the dressing on the side. This portion that you see here is AFTER I’ve already eaten three meals! Each time I portion out a serving for myself, I add a side of steamed or raw vegetables. And the good news is that it’s filling and my blood sugar stays steady in target the rest of the evening.
Be Sure to Check Out – What Can I Eat at Chick-fil-A with Diabetes?
Keeping your calories and carbs in line is one benefit of eating only half the meal served to you, but there is an additional bonus of bringing home leftovers to eat at another mealtime. Your meal is pre-prepped and it’s a great money-saving idea.
What are your tough eating situations with portions? Please write your response in the comment section below.
Until next time, cheers to your health.
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